Reality mirrors adventure fiction

By Ermin Garcia Jr. 


LEAVE it to movie scriptwriters and directors to give criminal minds more inventive ideas how to best accomplish their “missions”.

The recent assassination of Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili from a distance during a flag ceremony was a familiar scene in many adventure-thrill movies. Ditto on the assassination of Gen. Tinio Mayor Ferdinand Bote.

In the early 60s, only mob bosses, surrounded by their thugs, did the killing until bosses soon learned an easier way: Order your thugs or look and act professional by buying services of corrupt cops.

And when hired killers began to get stymied using cars and jeeps as getaway vehicles, motorcycles soon became the popular option.  Why not? The law requiring riders to wear helmets provided the most convenient cover to hide their identities.

And when the law prevents the detention of minors caught committing a crime, syndicates quickly put it to good use. Kids of criminal parents were used as runners, couriers and carriers of drugs and guns.

Then for a long time, cal. 45 pistols and cal. 38 revolvers were (and still are) favorite lethal weapons. Today, given the success story of Halili’s killing, long arms suddenly may become the flavor of the month for assassination. Good and methodical surveillance is all that’s needed for the effective use of M-16 or M-14 rifle or M-4 carbine.

Should mayors, councilors, barangay kapitans, journalists, priests and police assets and investigators and businessmen worry? Of course, they should!  But if its’ any consolation to the families of would be victims, the professional guns-for hire usually avoid hitting collateral damage or unintended victims.

Meanwhile, let’s all pray to our God that our law enforcers get to these mindless, heartless killers before they get to kill more of their targeted victims among us.

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LEGACY FOR DAGUPAN CITY. The Dagupan City councilors made history in Pangasinan last week, being the first for all members of a local legislative body to voluntarily take the drug test.

It was prompted by their own resolution asking all government employees and elected official to take the drug test to show unity in purpose with the national government’s campaign to check the proliferation of drugs.

Dagupan residents would surely like to see next the city hall officials and employees follow suit.  There are talks that there are some personnel at the city hall who are discrete drug-users and only a drug test will flush them out.

 And, after the city hall employees, hopefully led by Mayor Belen Fernandez and the department heads, all barangay and SK officials will be prompted to do follow as well before the month is over.

 Never mind if the city can’t have its drug-free status validated by the regional committee soon enough, the city can earn more accolade as the only local government in the country that had all its employees and elected officials take drug tests voluntarily, and the city government covered the costs for all who took the test.

This dream achievement will beat any World Guinness Record’s significance as a real life story!

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BUREAUCRACY FOR CORRUPTION? The announced plans to clear all illegal structures constructed on all beachfronts and coastlines of towns/cities appear to be getting bogged down by bureaucracy, a tact that violators have been praying for.

If this trend continues, we can say goodbye to hopes of seeing any drastic changes to protect our environment and promote our beaches as primary tourist destinations in Luzon.

There can only be one reason why Provincial/Community Environment and Natural Resources Offices and local government leaders will be unable to continue with the efforts, and that would be continued corruption inside PENRO and mayors’ offices.

In the first place, the rampant violations we are seeing today would not be there if it weren’t for the failure of the PENRO and CENRO officials to do their mandate.

How could these officials not possibly see and pretend that violations were happening right under their very noses?

The momentum created by the Boracay clearing operations ordered by President Duterte himself should be viewed by the PENRO and CENRO officials as an opportunity to vindicate themselves.

Until now, we have yet to see a work plan from the two offices for the clearing operations in San Fabian, Alaminos City, Bolinao, Lingayen, Binmaley and Dagupan City.

Money talks na naman ba?

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PREDICTING DENGUE CASES. Unknown to many Pangasinenses, there is the Mosquito Real Time Census Project being done to help our communities prevent the occurrence of dengue and zika and save lives. 

It is about new technology being applied as a preventive measure. It’s a useful tool for city and municipal health offices, particularly for the Provincial Health Office if they don’t know about it yet. They can set the trend in the country on how to beat dengue with technology

Believe it or not, the project collates data to alert a barangay two weeks before cases of dengue can be expected and immediately instructs communities how to fight back – all based on technical data.

On top of the project is Dagupeño Wilson Chua, a noted columnist today of Manila Bulletin on technology, and head of Bitstop, Sunday Punch’s Online edition partner.

Let me quote below Wilson’s summary of the project: 

“The project has 4 phases.  

The first phase is to identify hotspots. These hotspots are where stagnant waters are. Mosquitoes breed in them. Using satellite data from RUS-Copernicus, we are able to predict the most likely places in a locality.

The second phase kicks in by placing Ovitraps with IoT sensors (temperature, humidity and sound) in and near the identified stagnant water areas. When mosquitoes start to breed, they will activate the sound sensors. The data is sent to our servers for further analytics.

The presence of mosquitoes should give the Local Government Units an estimated 1 to 2 weeks advance warning before the 1st cases of dengue, zika or chikungunya shows up.

The 3rd phase is to set up the Lorawan wireless mesh to enable internet connectivity even in remote areas where there is no coverage.  Globe Telecoms has generously provided 20 phones to help with this project. 

The 4th phase is to help the affected communities fight back with low cost coconut bombs.”

For complete discussion and description of the project, refer to https://docs.google.com/document/d/15tR-NefDr-dKBAxGSqx_Vst8JI_j–QWgTdnrj4M9gM/edit?usp=sharing

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